Insulation R-Value and Misleading Advertisements

If you take just a little time to shop around in the roof coatings market, you’ll stumble across at least a few companies that claim their coating will increase the R-value of your building’s insulation.

While that would be amazing, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.  In fact, the federal government is considering taking action against these companies for false advertising. But why?

What Is R-Value:

Strictly speaking, R-Value is defined as the efficiency of a building’s insulation in regulating air temperatures within the building.  As anyone that has a house or has owned a building knows, better insulation can significantly impact both heating and cooling bills.  Now, most, if not all, roof coatings on the market today are cool roof products, which can also have a significant impact on energy consumption during peak demand times for cooling.

Why Roof Coatings Do Not Effect R-Value:

Efficiency of insulation is actually measured by how well the product slows heat-loss, when heat is transmitted back into the atmosphere from your building or home.  These materials are poor conductors of heat.  So, heat doesn’t travel easily through them, which is the same reason why insulation can help keep your home cool during the summer months.

The effectiveness of a cool roof is measured by how well it facilitates heat loss, or emissivity, and reflectivity.  In other words, while they help achieve the same goal (lower energy costs), cool roofs do so in a different way and have no effect on how well your insulation does its job.  In fact, buildings with low r-value insulation often see a greater impact on their energy bills from a cool roof, because more heat transferred through their envelope and into the building prior to installation.

Also, while studies suggest that cool roof coatings can have an impact on energy usage during cooler months, it’s far less pronounced than in hotter times of the year.


Reducing Energy Costs With Building Modifications:

The best approach to reducing energy costs is always a concerted effort. High r-value insulation, insulate windows, etc will help to slow heat-loss from the building during the winter and heat gain during the summer months.  High-efficiency bulbs lower the amount of power consumed for lighting.  A cool roof reflects solar heat that could have absorbed into your building.

The question is: should you trust a roof-coating manufacturer that either doesn’t know how their own product works or doesn’t care about misrepresenting it’s capabilities?  Probably not, and that’s a thought to keep in mind as you search for the best products to lower your costs and reduce your impact on the environment.

As always, thank you for reading.  Feel free to contact NovaTuff Coatings with any questions, or sound off in the comments section below.

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